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368,379 people killed, 306,096 injured and over $2,815,931,000 in economic damages

What's the harm in exorcisms?

An exorcism is a religious rite to drive Satan or other demons out of a person's body, or to remove a curse.  Read more about exorcisms

Here are 1,089 people who were harmed by someone not thinking critically.

Photo of Kousar Bashir & Mohammed Bashir

Kousar Bashir & Mohammed Bashir

Age: 20 & 56
Coppice, Oldham, Manchester, England

June 1991 & April 28, 2005

She was depressed after failing a driving test. Her father hired two holy men to rid an "evil spirit" from her body. They beat her to death. 13 years later, her father set himself on fire in a depression of his own. Read more

Amy Burney

Age: 5
Staten Island, New York

April 27, 1997

Like many small children, Amy was prone to tantrums. In an attempted exorcism, her mother and grandmother tied her down and forced her to swallow a toxic potion and taped her mouth shut. They were charged with second degree murder. Read more

Photo of Kira Canhoto

Kira Canhoto

Age: 2
Kitchener, Ontario, Canada

January 15, 1995

Her parents and grandmother thought she was possessed by a demon, so they attempted an exorcism. They forced her to drink huge quantities of water. The grandmother, mother and a neighbor were convicted of manslaughter. Read more

Photo of Amora Bain Carson

Amora Bain Carson

Age: 13 months
Henderson, Texas

December 2, 2008

They believed the child was possessed and tried to rid her of demons. They allegedly bludgeoned her and bit her more than 20 times. She died. Her mother and a man were arrested and held on $2 million bond. Read more

Sommai Chaipanya

Age: 38
Udon Thani, Thailand

April 1996

A mother of 2, she was beaten with a dried stingray tail by a shaman. The family had suggested it as a way to rid evil spirits. She fled but the shaman abucted her and continued until she died. The shaman was charged with murder. Read more

Kyung Jae Chung

Age: 53
Century City, California

July 4, 1996

She willingly let her husband and two other missionaries begin an exorcism on her. It turned into a 6 hour ordeal, at the end of which she had 16 broken ribs and collapsed lungs. Two were convicted of manslaughter. Read more

Susan Kay Clark

Age: 59
Odessa, Texas

Died (suffocation)
February 1, 2008

Her husband said she was possessed by a demon, so he held her face down on the floor as part of an exorcism. She suffocated, and her husband was charged with murder. Read more & more

Maricica Irina Cornici

Age: 23
Tanacu, Romania

June 18, 2005

Exorcism Read more & more & more

Terrance Cottrell Jr.

Age: 8
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

August 22, 2003

Diagnosed as autistic at 2, he was a problem child. Church members thought he was possessed by the devil. In an exorcism he was held down for two hours until he suffocated. The pastor was sentenced to prison, but never admitted guilt. Read more & more

Shashi Devi & Ruchi Kumar

Age: 55
Ghaziabad, India

1 Dead, 6 Injured
April 26, 2008

Three well educated men decided their mother was possessed by the spirit of a dead relative. They beat her to death exorcising the spirit. Then they attacked their sister-in-law in an attempted human sacrifice. All were arrested. Read more

Faranah Essop

Age: 20
Chatsworth, Durban, South Africa

September 29, 2005

Exorcism Read more

Dane Gibson

Age: 12
Inglewood, New Zealand

May 17, 1994

After attending a fundamentalist church, they became convinced they were surrounded by demons. The boy had been held down in the yard as part of an exorcism. They were found not guilty of murder. Read more

Carl Glatzel Jr.

Age: 11
Brookfield, Connecticut

Exploited by psychic investigators

Exorcism Read more & more

David Glatzel

Age: 11
Brookfield, Connecticut

Exploited by psychic investigators

Exorcism Read more & more

Kyong-A Ha

Age: 24
Emeryville, California

March 8, 1995

She had persistent insomnia, so her family turned to a minister who said she was possessed by demons. The attempted exorcism lasted six hours and ended in her death. They stayed with the body for five days waiting for her to return from heaven. Read more

Latifa Hatchmi

Age: 23
Brussels, Belgium

August 5, 2004

She thought her infertility was caused by demons, so she sought an exorcism from a group to which her husband belonged. She was repeatedly immersed in water and suffered broken bones before she died. Read more

Cheung Kiu Ho

Age: 48
Norwich, England

October 1993

She believed her body had been invaded by snakes and worms, so she sought an exorcism from her brother. Neighbors heard screams and she was found dead. The brother served five years. Read more

Photo of Brittany & Tatianna Jacks, N'Kiah & Aja Fogle

Brittany & Tatianna Jacks, N'Kiah & Aja Fogle

Age: 17, 11, 6 & 5
Washington, D.C.

Murdered by their mother
December 2007

Police found their bodies in their mother's apartment while serving an eviction notice. When arrested, the mother claimed the girls were possessed by demons. Read more

Louise Lardjourne

Age: 19
Roubaix, France

July 1, 1994

Exorcism Read more

Nong Thi Loi & her family

Age: 63 & 37 to 47
Tuong village, Cao Bang province, Vietnam

6 people dead, one sickened
November 13, 2007

After she became sick from drinking wine laced with herbal plants, her family held an exorcism to cure her. The rest of the family drank the wine and died. She might have mistaken a poisonous herb for a safe one. Read more & more

Ronald Marquez

Age: 49
Phoenix, Arizona

July 28, 2007

Exorcism Read more

Photo of Malissa Mayfield

Malissa Mayfield

Age: 29
Sydney, NSW, Australia

June 19, 2006

She met a couple who shared her belief in psychic powers and the supernatural. The man told her he could remove her bad demons by sleeping with her (which he did). When she tried to sever contact, he strangled her. She leaves two daughters behind. Read more & more

Anneliese Michel

Age: 23
Klingenberg am Main, Bavaria, Germany

July 1, 1976

Exorcism / Religious fanaticism Read more

Charity Miranda-Martin

Age: 17
Riverhead, New York

January 1998

In attempt to rid her of demons, her mother and sister allegedly suffocated her with a plastic bag. They were charged with murder. Read more

Photo of Janet Moses

Janet Moses

Age: 22
Wainuiomata, New Zealand

October 12, 2007

Janet's relatives believed she was the victim of a Maori curse. She was drowned during an exorcism ceremony, leaving her two children motherless. Several people were charged with manslaughter. Read more

Janet Moses' cousin (minor)

Age: 14
Wainuiomata, New Zealand

Hospitalized, nearly died
October 12, 2007

During Janet Moses' exorcism, she suffered corneal damage as relatives scratched at her eyes. Read more & more

Mary Odegbami

Age: 26
East Ham, Greater London, England

April 1994

After she tried to call off the engagement, her fiance believed she was possessed by the devil. He locked her in a room, starved her and beat her for 14 days. After she died, they tried to resurrect her for 3 days. The fiance got six years in prison. Read more

Signifagance Oliver

Age: 4
Washington Heights, New York, New York

Died (drowning)
November 13, 2001

Her mother was charged with murder after telling police that she was trying to exorcise the child of demons. The child drowned. Read more

Sylvester Orieso

Age: 5
New Cross, Greater London, England

November 1997

His mother strangled her five year old son in an attempt to drive out demons. She kept his body in her home for days believing he would be healed. She was committed to a psychiatric unit. Read more

Farida Patel

Age: 22
Ilford, London, England

December 9, 1993

She believed herself possessed by djinns. Her family called a Syrian woman to conduct an exorcism. She was beaten for hours, fracturing nine ribs. Three were sent to prison for manslaughter. Read more

Carolyn Shea

Auckland, New Zealand

Critically injured
December 1997

Her Maori boyfriend forced a crucifx up her nose with such force it entered her brain. The New Zealand High Court made legal history by accepting the argument that he was under the influence of an evil spirit, and gave him only a suspended sentence. Read more

Breeann Spickard

Age: 5
Baldwin Park, Los Angeles, California

July 5, 1996

She was beaten to death during an exorcism performed by her mother and two other women. All three women were convicted of murder. Read more

Photo of Evelyn Vasquez

Evelyn Vasquez

Age: 6
Waukegan, Illinois

Died (stabbed)
April 7, 2008

The child had a history of sleepwalking. Her mother confessed to brutally stabbing her to death because she believe she was possessed by the devil. She was charged with murder. Read more & more

Joan Vollmer

Age: 49
Horsham, Victoria, Australia

January 30, 1993

Exorcism Read more

1,000 people

Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture, Japan

Defrauded for 'false' exorcisms
January 2003

Police arrested a man and his disciples who were selling exorcisms to people. Over a thousand people were approached in public and told they were possessed by a spirit, and then taken for between 30,000 and 1 million yen each. Read more

6 people

Sukagawa, Japan

July 1995

Faith healing / exorcism Read more

mother of Abir & Hoda

Cairo, Egypt

August 1994

They said their mother was "possessed by the djinn". They kicked and punched her to death in an attempt to exorcise the genie. The sisters were sent to a state mental hospital. Read more

numerous residents

Kazamile, Ethiopia

$695 each
October 18, 2004

A con man convinced people in this eastern town that he could speak with a demon who could make money rain from the sky. He took their money, told them to cover their faces to avoid seeing the demon, and fled. Read more

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